AP NEWS

Student takes on Fight For Air Climb

March 9, 2019

HUSTISFORD -- She’s only 6 years old, but the Hustisford youngster is going to tackle the 1,034 individual stairs that make up the 47 floors of the U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee.

Despite suffering from severe asthma, Annabel is taking part in Saturday’s 11th annual Fight For Air Climb, which is the largest Fight For Air Climb in the nation in terms of its participation and fundraising. Last year the event raised $750,000 for the fight against asthma and lung disease. As of Wednesday, Annabel had raised more than $3,300.

Annabel’s mother, Roxanne, said her daughter uses a nebulizer machine and completes sets of one every 20 minutes, every two to four hours with little to no relief in between them.

“Annabel also takes two inhalers -- one every six hours and another every 12 hours,” Roxanne said. “She takes small sips of water, being careful not to choke, and sucks on lollipops and Popsicles to try and soothe her sore throat and settle her cough for even a few minutes.”

Sometimes Annabel and her mother sleep downstairs on their family’s couch so as not to disturb her brother or dad’s sleep.

“A Disney movie is a good distraction from the frustration,” Roxanne said. “First thing in the morning, I’ll be calling the doctor to get a prescription for steroids. She swallows four pills, two times a day like a big girl because the liquid version tastes absolutely terrible. As the asthma symptoms begin to lift the steroid side effects will kick in. As if a 6-year-old girl isn’t emotional enough.”

Annabel said this is her family’s fourth time climbing the many stairs at the U.S. Bank building but it’s her first. She said her family climbs because of her problems with asthma, but she is also excited to see what the top of the tallest building in Wisconsin looks like.

“I don’t like having to wear the yucky mask to be able to breathe or to leave recess because I have to take my inhaler,” Annabel said. “I’ve decided to make every step count by climbing with the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb to raise funds for healthy lungs and healthy air.”

The funds raised will help provide patient education, support research and advocacy efforts for everyone living with lung disease including COPD, lung cancer and asthma, according to the American Lung Association’s website.

“Every dollar I raise moves us forward in our fight for healthy lungs and clean air,” Annabel said. “There is no elevator to a cure. I have to take the stairs.”